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lifeline. >> reporter: definitely did, doreen. good news for susan rice today. we learned that here on the hill from democrats, including dutch runnersburger from baltimore. members of the house and senate who today got closed-door briefings from the cia. and reported later that the u.n. ambassador, susan rice, got a bit of a lifeline thrown to her by the agency. the cia corroborating what rice said she knew and when she knew it. but overall, she said this issue remained highly political, partisan, even personal. libya's become a battle between president obama and republican senator john mccain. who insisted again today the administration knew quickly that al qaeda had attacked. >> for the president of the united states for two weeks afterwards to deny that that was the case, is either a cover-up or it is incompetence. >> reporter: susan rice denied it. infuriating republicans. acting cia director mike morrell on the hill today briefed some lawmakers on libya. one, a democrat said the account backed rice. that u.s. intelligence did give her the incorrect account that she passed on.
.n. ambassador susan rice as his new secretary of state. after rice blamed benghazi was a riot gone wrong. go after me, the president demanded. >> and to besmirch her reputation? it's outrageous. >> reporter: mostly he came across mellow. a victor reaching out to his opponents. with both sides up here not really far apart now on taxes, the president clearly hopes his reelection tips the balance, gets him some republican votes on this. and the deal he wants to avoid the fiscal cliff. live from capitol hill, steve handelsman, news4. >>> steve, thank you. now, for more on the scandal involving the former cia director, nbc's pete williams joins us now. there's so many developments in so many different directions in this story. what's happened today? >> well, today we learned general petraeus will in fact testify before the senate about what happened in benghazi. it will be in a closed session. we're told actually he volunteered to do it. the senate said they wanted to hear from him, but his friends say he called the cia, called his associates there and said i do want to testify. today the directo
susan rice, who five days after the attack denies it was al qaeda. using cia public talking points that dropped the al qaeda reference. >> and she did entirely the responsible thing in answering questions based on what was unclassified. >> reporter: but rice had a motive to spin the story on "meet the press." barack obama running for reelection, he might name her secretary of state. >> this is an administration led by a president who said when he ran for office that he would take the fight to al qaeda. we have decimated al qaeda. >> reporter: republicans still charge rice with distortion. >> she knew at that point in time that al qaeda was very likely responsible in part or in whole for the death of ambassador stevens. >> reporter: petraeus knew it was al qaeda. he agreed to put out the different account. but not, he said, for political reasons. petraeus told lawmakers up here today, u.s. intelligence wanted to keep secret what it knew, and how it knew it. but republicans up here are not buying that that was rice's motive. steve handelsman, news4, capitol hill. >>> there is news to
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